Degard is a pioneering British ‘Painter of Auras’. Degard is a visionary artist, writer, researcher, curator, and founder of the genre Contemporary Visionary.
Degard sees auras, trace energy around people, animals, and places. She can intuit people who are long gone and through her art create spirit portraits. Spirit portraiture is a wonderful method to meet people who have passed. Degard’s latest paintings aim to capture the lives of lost family – family who were killed in concentration camps who she never had a chance to meet. In fact, Degard’s current family had no idea these ancestors even existed. Degard is bringing them to life and giving them a place in society today.
Degard says “It all started when I ‘saw’ a blue square around the chest of a man who I discovered had just had triple by-pass surgery. I suddenly understood what these flashes of light were; they were his Aura, his conscious energy. The square indicated surgical human impact, the colour blue- healing – I could see the experience of the whole operation in his energies.”
All of Degard’s current work has followed from this experience which led to painting the auras of people, places, and things in the hope of understanding our lives in more depth.
Degard has founded the genre Contemporary Visionary which further discusses a number of notions. One of these notions is about scientific understanding. In the past the Visionary has sought to justify its existence by associating itself with scientific methodology. Visionary methodology is however a stand-alone knowledge system which needs no justification. The Visionary can describe through the arts both life and consciousness which is impossible through scientific empiricism! Seems extraordinary but science can open a brain, but it cannot find the mind inside! Artistic practice shows the mind at work. Contemporary Visionary can reveal through channelling aura the vortex of that aura and what a person’s self is and can be.
Contemporary Visionary also associates itself with political notions which need redefining. The current political paradigm relies on a ‘dog eat dog’ version of life. The issue with ‘dog eat dog’ is the lack of inclusivity this idea generates. This we all know is problematic and creates a harsh society for us all. The Aura and its energies are without compromise inclusive – as the air we breathe includes us all so does the auric light. This auric, radiant light is filled with presence, vibrancy, intelligence, consciousness, our personalities, our life plans, our free will, and our intent. These aspects of our lives are not involved in ‘dog-eat-dog’ and need to be understood as such. We don’t need to attack each other to get our fair share of Aura. Aura is beneficent and energy is generous.
Lastly Contemporary Visionary as an artistic practice critiques the barrenness and bleakness of post-modernist art. In 1966 Carl Andre put bricks on the floor and one of these sculptures in The Tate is Equivalence VIII. It is a series of rectangular bricks and that is all there is to it.
‘Andre’s Equivalent series consists of a rectangular arrangement of 120 firebricks. Although the shape of each sculpture is different, they all have the same height, mass and volume, and are therefore ‘equivalent’ to each other’ (Tate)
Degard with her latest series is exploring the bricks of The Western/Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. She acknowledges from a pantheistic and visionary point of view the depth of meaning that bricks can have. Each brick of her painting series known as The Visionary Wall contains powerful significance; none of these bricks are the same as each other. Post-modern work attempts to strip out all richness of meaning, exuberance of thought, even explanation of the art itself. This is a situation Degard wishes to change.
This painting above shows the Aura of Walter Benjamin as he would have become if he had not taken his life due to Nazi persecution. Benjamin was one of the most powerful thinkers of the 20th century and wrote extensively on why and how the atrocities of the 20th century could come about. As a Jewish thinker he understood the persecution ahead of him at a concentration camp and decided to take his own life. This painting commemorates his life and shows us in his aura the man he would have become. The circles represent the scientific diagrams which are shown to represent human life simply composed of six elements. This comparison is intended to show the vast discrepancy between scientific thinking and the visionary i.e., life itself. The Auric patterning, colour, form, and light shows a man with a love of the natural, a simple symbolic landscape. Further the ladder type structure underneath his head reveals a desire to ascend; he was after all an intellectual giant. There are also two or three significant people in his aura.
Degard highlights the value of Contemporary Visionary art and all Visionary artists at The Visionary Brit Museum at https://www.visionarybritmuseum.co.uk.
The Visionary Brit Museum is a red heritage telephone box outside of the British Museum which hosts Visionary art exhibitions exclusively. Degard says, ‘We often receive up to 3000 visitors who take photos of the work inside the Vis Brit weekly!’ This is a statement that the visionary in art is no longer an aspect of an artist’s practice that needs to be hidden.
Degard is also doing a Doctorate in Fine Art on the Visionary in Art which she finds very challenging and exhilarating. Degard explains.
‘Defining the visionary in art as a methodology in its own right is so thrilling. I am creating an index of terms which can be referred to by all future visionary artists.”.
Degard has exhibited extensively with recent exhibitions, Aura II at Brook Street Gallery opposite Claridge’s, London, Quintessence of Consciousness at The Royal College of Art, solo show at Museum Al Zubair, Oman, and Saatchi Art. She has hosted and arranged talks ‘Art with…’, at the Royal Society of Art, where she is a Fellow. Degard works alongside Anxiety UK to bring Art into mental health. Degard has recently published a paper with The Astropolitics Institute ‘Space and Art’. Degard is represented by Laura I Gallery, London.
Degard has written four books all of which can be found in The British Library, is a committee member of The Colour Group and a fellow of The Galileo Commission for the Scientific and Medical Network. Degard graduated from The Royal College of Art. She received awards from the Alan Davie Foundation.
Degard’s Art joins a long history into the study of consciousness, perception, cognition studies interwoven with visionary experience; as exemplified by visionary artists, Susan Hiller, Kandinsky, Hilma af Klint and William Blake. Degard’s Art brings this visionary and mystical genre, into a contemporary, socio-political context.
Molly Hackney, writer of The Medium’s Medium (written for an exhibition at Frieze, London 2019) says of one of Degard’s recent exhibitions, The Power of Things, Drip: Still Lifes https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=HgyLejEty25
‘The canvases at Drip enchant the viewer with this glimpse into spirit connection. It is her choice of objects that give this exhibition such magnetism.’